Ten nations simultaneously ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 11, bringing the total number of ratifications for creation of the new United Nations court to 66 -- six more than required for the international treaty to go into effect. This treaty, concocted by a U.N. meeting in Rome in 1998, is scheduled to "enter into force" on July 1.
Yet the practical meaning of "enter into force" is not immediately clear. All of the ratifying countries, except for populous Nigeria, Germany and the United Kingdom, are lilliputian mice seeking to bell the U.S. cat and its citizens. Even including the three majors, the 66 ratifiers constitute less than one-sixth of the world's population. Nevertheless they presume to sit in judgment over the rest for a long list of "crimes against humanity" and other vague acts such as "aggression."
Critics of the ICC say accession to the jurisdiction of the U.N. court would be a degrading step down in the quality of justice afforded to U.S. citizens. As U.S. experts in international law point out, the ICC exercises the powers of a governing authority but has no mechanism to represent the consent of the governed.
With widespread concern throughout the U.S. Senate that prosecutors of the U.N. court would unfairly target U.S. military personnel deployed around the world, the Clinton administration never had anywhere near the votes in the Senate to ratify this treaty. Nonetheless, Bill Clinton signed the Rome treaty in the waning days of his presidency on Dec. 31, 2000 -- the very last day it was open for signatories. Signing does not mean that a country ultimately is committed, but only that it will seek ratification according to its national process. Clinton had no intention (or ability) to send it to the Senate because it was not in session. He simply dumped it in the lap of incoming President George W. Bush, critics say, hoping to embarrass him.
Political insiders at the White House say Bush will not be sending the treaty to the Senate. In fact, State Department spokesmen talk about "unsigning" the draft document, an unprecedented rebuke to Clinton and to an international community that has …